Thanks for the helpful feedback. Let me address some of your points:
“When I built an SD model of climate change, I showed that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere was the root cause, along with other greenhouse gases.” – The paper said “A root cause is the deepest cause in a causal chain (or the most basic cause in a feedback loop structure) that can be resolved.” You don’t seem to be using that definition. Tracing the causal chain of CO2 emissions, we find many deeper causes, like vehicle emissions, that have even deeper causes, like long commutes and drivers not taking public transport. The rising level of CO2 in the atmosphere is an intermediate cause.
“An example of not identifying the root cause is how to help low income people.” – The note in the paper said “Can anyone think of an actual case where a completed SD model was later discovered to not include the root cause(s)?” Are you describing a completed SD model was later discovered to not include the root cause(s)? Where exactly is this model?
“As you state, ‘society’s largest problems are of such scale and public interest that they must be addressed by governments.’ Is government the system that lacks a root cause analysis? Does this result in omitting a problem’s root causes and therefore the correct high leverage point in the government system?” – Nice question, but what does “Is government the system that lacks a root cause analysis?” mean? Are governments not using RCA or is RCA not being performed on why governments are unable to address this problem?
“As you state, ‘Industry’s solution to its top wicked problem was continuous improvement…’. Government’s solution to its top wicked problems is continuous improvement of all kinds but the time frame of implementing improvements might be decades or centuries. The US government still uses the electoral college defined in the Constitution and as modified by the 12th amendment, adopted in 1804, that solidified the two political parties.” – How is this relevant to the paper? What is your specific suggestion to improve the paper or what is the problem in the paper?
“The history of RCA on pages 3 and 4 is irrelevant to the main question of your paper.” – Thanks. If you are familiar with papers, you will realize that most have a literature review of some kind after the introduction, in order to educate the reader on the context of problem and where the paper’s research question and potential contribution fit into the literature. A paper on how to integrate RCA with SD modeling must therefore review RCA. What is it, what does it accomplish, how successful has this method been?
“The message of this paper on page 5 in italics uses an ‘If-Then’ format. An SD model or SD modeler that uses ‘If-Then’ statements pre-determines the result. You are forcing a specific outcome without any RCA or allowing the dynamic system to show you the high leverage points.” – I don’t understand what you are trying to say.
“You are writing a paper about RCA and dictating to SD modelers that they must use RCA or they are going to omit the correct high leverage points.” – Well, I don’t think the paper is “dictating” anything. However, it does present these premises: all causal problems arise from their root causes, difficult modeling problems are causal problems, and RCA is the only known method of reliably and efficiently finding and resolving root causes. Therefore, if a problem is so difficult that non-RCA-based methods are failing, then it would be prudent for the problem solver to use RCA. This is exactly why RCA is the foundational method for all large-scale industrial processes. The paper attempts to allow SD modelers to be just as successful. RCA is not perfect. People (especially those in training) do miss root causes on their first pass, so they try again. But RCA is orders of magnitude better than non-RCA methods like trial and error, expert judgement, statistical correlation, and so on, for difficult causal problems.
“My point: A better use of your time would be to take action and apply the process you are advocating, to one or more government systems that are trying to solve wicked problems.” – Thanks, but this makes little sense. Method papers are common, especially in the social sciences. Editors and readers are not rejecting them for the reason you use, because papers about potential new methods, or method changes, are extremely useful. Sometimes data precedes theory, and sometime theory precedes data. That’s the way scientific progress works.
“On page 5, doctors use a process of elimination to diagnose and treat patient illness. Once they’ve eliminated potential problems then they focus on what’s left. That’s how they narrow in on the root cause.” – This seems to argue that doctors are not using RCA but are using something else. You seem to be very resistant to the idea that RCA can be useful. RCA is the foundational method behind all formal methods of solving causal problems. The paper says “RCA is the systematic practice of finding, resolving, and preventing recurrence of the root causes of causal problems.” How does the process of elimination (a systematic practice) to find the root cause of an illness not fit this definition?
“Again, on page 8, problem 1, doctors also triage a patient and treat immediate problems first, then get more tests and narrow in on the root cause.” – Triage has nothing to do with RCA. It’s a problem management issue.
“One assumption you might be making is that SD models are the real world in the same way that Industry used RCA to change the real world.” – I don’t understand. Perhaps you are writing too fast?
“However, SD models are not the real world. SD models never include the root cause.” Models frequently contain root causes, in the same sense that models contain things like growth rates and population. A successful policy resolves the root causes and solves the problem, first in the model, and then the real world. Many SD models have done this, as it is usually their primary purpose. Of course, they usually don’t use root cause terminology.
“Conclusion. Instead of writing a paper about the process, apply your process to a real world wicked problems like climate change, pandemic, voting rights, system racism and many other social issues. Show me, don’t tell me.” – This repeats an earlier comment you made, starting with “My point.” See my reply to that.
Richard, I hope my replies help you to see a little deeper into the complex situation the paper attempts to deal with. It wasn’t easy to write.